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The Drive to Monterey

February 2, 2014


It is good the drive between Pittsfield and Monterey is as long as it is.  Good because I use the time on the way there to shed all the worry and fuss from the week and enter their space ready to share what gifts I have been given.

Ready to breathe through any anxiety about strangers and performance and instead breathe in the love they are so willing to give.  Ready to turn the switch for the electric pump on the pipe organ and hear its gentle whir as I choose stops and find my footing.

It is good the drive is long (and beautiful) and I’ve calmed inside a bit especially when the organ doesn’t whir, but instead goes woosh, woosh, woosh, and then goes silent.

With a quiet heart, I give thanks that I brought books and not just songs, make my way to the piano and plan anew.

No one is crabby when I do not start the prelude quite on time, but have to be nudged loudly (joyfully!) from the back of the sanctuary.   No one mutters (at least not that I hear) when I am adding music filling up communion space while the pastor is standing still waiting for me to stop so she may continue.  No one is snarky (although there were happy giggles) when I, out of habit, added an amen to the doxology.

It is good to have the preparation time that allows me to come into this moment present and whole.

And it is good the drive back is just as long, especially on Annual Meeting Day when my heart worries over hurt feelings and perceived fiscal woes.

I say perceived not because the woes are not real, but more because there is an idea that this problem is ours alone and of only we would do A, B, or C it would all disappear.  As an adult, I have been a member of three different congregations and I believe if I closed my eyes during an annual meeting, I’d be hard pressed to tell you which church I was in.

All three are city churches with large buildings, smaller memberships than the sanctuaries have been designed for, and, perplexingly given the attendance, serious lack of convenient parking options.  All three have generous endowment funds that have seen better days.  All three have spend-it and save-it and I-don’t-care-pass-the-jello-salad members.   And all three truly want to be a refuge of love and grace in our gritty, often hurtful world.

They share a common struggle and no common solutions so far.  Mostly the plan of action seems to be to not change anything and worry when the money is truly gone.

The money isn’t gone yet.  When it is, these people will still find ways to bring love and light to those in need.  Many things will need to change.  I may be making that drive more often, if only to clear my head and make room for new ideas.  Epiphany isn’t over.  Maybe the answers still have time to grow brighter.

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